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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
2 Thessalonians 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-12

Jesus Christ's Role in Preparing the Church for the Second Coming: Prophecies of Christ's Second Coming - The theme of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is the role of Jesus Christ in preparing the Church for His Second Coming, and its opening verse refers to Jesus Christ the Son. This passage of Scripture reveals that some misconceptions on the Coming of Christ Jesus had arisen. If these believers were perceiving that such harsh persecutions were the indication, or sign, of His immediate Return, Paul now corrects this perception by explaining the true prophetic signs of His Return. He prophesies that before Christ returns, there must first be an apostasy and the "Son of Perdition" be revealed. While 1Thessalonians places more emphasis upon the Rapture preceding the Second Coming, the second epistle places more on Christ's Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation Period.

The View of the Early Church about How Soon Christ Would Come Again- We can be sure that the early apostles were in agreement on the delayed Advent of the Second Coming. Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:1-10 that the day of the Lord will come, but in God's own time. This passage in 2Peter does not predict Christ's immediate return, but suggests a number of events that will precede it. For example, he says that the wicked will mock at His Second Coming because of its delay. James , the brother of the Lord, understood the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy of Amos 9:11-12 to refer to the evangelization of the Gentile nations after Christ's first appearance ( Acts 15:13-19). John the apostle clearly gives us a multitude of prophetic events that are to precede and lead up to Christ's Second Coming. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself explained a multitude of events that would precede His Second Coming in His Eschatological Discourse of Matthew 24-25. Thus, Paul was teaching the church at Thessalonica a doctrine that was clearly understood and agreed upon among the apostles.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 Thessalonians 2:1Comments- Paul clearly spoke on the Coming of the Lord and of their gathering together unto Him in his first epistle. He encouraged them by instilling a hope of seeing their loved ones again in the Rapture of the Church ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), then teaches them to prepare for and anticipate Christ's Second Coming ( 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). He refers back to these teachings in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 in order to anchor their souls back on their blessed hope; for their were being troubled by false messages.

2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2 Thessalonians 2:2 — "neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us" - "by spirit" - Comments- The phrase "by spirit refers to what is said through a gift of utterance, which is God's Spirit speaking to us. The phrase "by word refers to what someone teaches and says. The phrase "by letter" refers to what someone writes to them and says that Paul is saying so and so.

2 Thessalonians 2:2"as that the day of Christ is at hand" - Comments- Certain ones were teaching that Jesus has come already. The Greek verb here is in the perfect tense, and can be translated, "the day of Christ may come at any minute". Song of Solomon , certain ones could have been teaching that Jesus is about to come. Thus, Paul is saying that certain things must happen first.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

2 Thessalonians 2:3Word Study on "a falling away" - Strong says the Greek word "a falling away" ( ἀποστασία) (G 646) means, "a defection from the truth, an apostasy." This Greek noun is used only two times in the New Testament. The other use of this word is found in Acts 21:21.

Acts 21:21, "And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

Comments- All translations that I have read support this meaning of an apostasy. However, one scholar says that this word means, "a departure," thus being a reference to the rapture of the church. Verses 7-8 of this passage of Scripture refer to this prophetic part of history by using the word αποστασια in the statement "he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." Verse 2refers to the "Day of Christ" being at hand.

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"

Thus, the context of this passage certainly supports the idea of the rapture of the Church. However, modern English versions follow the translation of "a falling away" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 rather than "a rapture."

2 Thessalonians 2:3 — "the son of perdition" - Comments - The Greek phrase " ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας" (the son of perdition) appears to be a Hebraism since similar phrases can be found in the LXX, which uses the phrases " τὸν λαὸν τῆς ἀπωλείας" ( Isaiah 34:5), " τέκνα ἀπωλείας" ( Isaiah 57:4), " υἱὸς θανάτου" ( 2 Samuel 12:5). 39]

39] George R. Beasley-Murray, John , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol 36 (second edition), eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004), comments on John 17:12.

Isaiah 34:5, "For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment."

Isaiah 57:4, "Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,"

2 Samuel 12:5, "And David"s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:"

The phrase "son of perdition" is found two times in the New Testament ( John 17:12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). This phrase refers to Judas Iscariot ( John 17:12) and to the antichrist or world leader that reveals himself during the Tribulation Period ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3). We see Jesus using a similar phrase, "child of hell." Paul the apostle uses a similar type of metaphor in the phrase "children of light" ( Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5)

John 17:12, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.'

2 Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"

Matthew 23:15, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

Ephesians 5:8, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"

1 Thessalonians 5:5, "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."

2 Thessalonians 2:3Comments- Scholars identify the "man of sin" mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 as the Antichrist spoken of by John in Revelation 13, who will become a world leader during the seven-year Tribulation Period. In the midst of this seven-year period, he will exalt his throne in the Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself divine. He will set up an image and force those who follow him to worship it. Many scholars identify a number of Old Testament passages that refer to this same individual, where he is called "the Assyrian" ( Isaiah 10:24), "the king of Babylon" ( Isaiah 14:4), "the Prince" ( Daniel 9:26) and "the king" ( Daniel 1:36).

Isaiah 10:24, "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt."

Isaiah 14:4, "That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!"

Daniel 9:26, "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

Daniel 11:36, "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done."

2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:4Comments (1) - We see in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 a description of the same spirit of pride that caused Lucifer to fall from his position in Heaven ( Isaiah 14:13).

Isaiah 14:13, "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:"

Comments (2) - Note how the antichrist will attempt to reign from Jerusalem immediately before Jesus Christ comes to set up His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem. Satan knows that this throne is to be given to Jesus Christ shortly, so he makes his last attempt to stop God's divine plan of redemption on earth and to rule in Christ's stead. He deceives the people by mocking and imitating a "second coming" of the Messiah to make the world believe that the antichrist is the Messiah.

There are a number of eschatological passages in Scripture that refer to the time when the antichrist will set up his throne in the Temple. It is referred to as the "Abomination of Desolation." Scholars believe that this antichrist will set up his throne in the Temple of Jerusalem during the middle of the seven-year Tribulation Period.

Matthew 24:15, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)"

Mark 13:14, "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:"

Revelation 11:2, "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

2 Thessalonians 2:5Comments- The fact that Paul taught on the Second Coming of Christ Jesus to this church at an earlier date is confirmed in his first epistle to the church at Thessalonica. In this second epistle, Paul taught extensively on this topic.

2 Thessalonians 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:7"only he who now letteth will let" - Comments- Webster says the English word "let" means, "To retard; to hinder; to impede; to oppose." This one must have spiritual power to hold back spiritual forces.

BBE, "For the secret of evil is even now at work: but there is one who is keeping back the evil till he is taken out of the way."

ASV, "For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way."

2 Thessalonians 2:7Comments- 1 Thessalonians 2:7 refers to the spirit of antichrist that is on earth now persecuting the Church of Jesus Christ. Since His resurrection, Satan has been warring against the Church. John the apostle refers to the antichrist in his first epistle.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

2 Thessalonians 2:8 — "whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming" - Comments- In Revelation 19:11-21 we have a description of Jesus Christ on a white horse battling the Wicked One and the armies who followed him. Scholars tell us that this passage refers to the great Battle of Armageddon, which will be fought at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period. Out of Jesus' mouth came forth a sharp, two-edged sword.

Revelation 19:15, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

Revelation 19:21, "And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

2 Thessalonians 2:8Comments- The Wicked One will be revealed at the beginning of the Tribulation Period and will be destroyed at the end. Thus, 1 Thessalonians 2:8 describes the key events that will open and close this is seven-year period of divine judgment.


Verses 8-12

Comments- The Antichrist of the Tribulation Period- 1 Thessalonians 2:8-11 describes the Tribulation Period. It begins with the Rapture of the Church and the revealing of the Wicked One and ends with the Second Coming of Jesus, who will destroy the antichrist with the sword of His mouth ( 1 Thessalonians 2:8). In 1 Thessalonians 2:9-10 we have a description of how the beast of the antichrist will perform lying signs and wonders to make those who have not repented to marvel and to gain their allegiance. We find a parallel passage in Revelation 13:1-14.

Revelation 13:11-14, "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live."

God will bring these strong delusions to those whose heart has been too hardened to repent in the midst of the Tribulation period. We see references to these unrepentant souls in Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 16:9-11.

Revelation 9:20-21, "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."

Revelation 16:9-11, "And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."


Verses 13-15

The Holy Spirit's Role in Preparing the Church for the Second Coming (Their Sanctification) - After Jesus Christ finished His eschatological discourse to the disciples He instructed them to watch and to pray ( Luke 21:36).

Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

This is what Paul does in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 to 2 Thessalonians 3:15, which emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in preparing the Church for Christ's Second Coming, and its opening verse refers to the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.

Outline- Note the following outline:

1. Exhortations to Watch (Readiness of Mind) — 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

2. Exhortations to Pray (Readiness of Spirit) — 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

3. Exhortations to Work (Readiness of Body) — 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15


Verses 13-17

Exhortations to Watch: Readiness of Mind- He first reminds them of their calling from the beginning of time which will result in their future, eternal glory with Christ Jesus ( 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). He asks them to stand fast in this truth, as they set their minds on this blessed hope ( 2 Thessalonians 2:15). He prays for their sanctification in spirit, soul and body ( 2 Thessalonians 2:16-16). This passage emphasizes a readiness of mind for Christ's Second Coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

2 Thessalonians 2:13Comments - The distinction comes between those who are called and those chosen by "sanctification of spirit and belief of the truth."

Matthew 22:14, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

2 Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14Comments - Faith, Love, and Hope- In 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 we find a reference to faith, love and hope that Paul used to open his first epistle to the Thessalonians to define God's process of divine election.

1 Thessalonians 1:3-4, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 — "and hold the traditions which ye have been taught" - Comments - Paul was not referring in this case to the negative Prayer of Manasseh -made traditions, as in Galatians 1:14, which kept men from God, but to the new rules that God had revealed to him that were to guide the New Testament Church. The Pauline epistles contain the conduct of the believers in light of the interpretations of the Old Testament. These are traditions that God inspired Paul to incorporate into his epistles, which would forever establish Christian conduct. These are the traditions that he is referring to in this verse.

Galatians 1:14, "And profited in the Jews" religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."

2 Thessalonians 2:15 — "or our epistle" - Comments - It is generally believed that Paul's phrase in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 "our epistle" is a reference to his first epistle to the Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians 2:15Comments - The New Testament church, because of its Jewish heritage, immediately incorporated the Old Testament Scriptures into its daily worship. However, these new believers quickly realized that some of the Old Testament teachings, such as the Law of Moses, must now be interpreted in light of the New Covenant. We see this challenge taking place at the first council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.

Acts 15:1-2, "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question."

In addition to the recognition of the Old Testament, the apostles realized that they had been given the authority to reveal the new covenant with as high authority as they held the Jewish Old Testament. According to 2 Corinthians 3:1-11, they were appointed ministers of this new covenant.

The major requirement for all of the New Testament writings to be considered "divinely inspired Scripture" was apostolic authority. These twenty-seven books had to have been either written by one of the twelve apostles, or either been imposed by these apostles upon the churches as an "instrument" of the Church, to be read and obeyed by all. Thus, we see the Gospels and Paul's epistles being read in gatherings alongside the Old Testament Scriptures, and being elevated to equal authority as other sacred Scripture.

Therefore, Paul's qualifications as a minister of the new covenant was elevated to a level higher than others due to the fact that God had given him the calling of writing much of the New Testament. Paul realized that his writings were on an equal level of authority as the Old Testament Scriptures.

Therefore, Paul held the authority to speak on the level of authority that Christ Jesus spoke while on this earth.

Scripture References- Note similar Scriptures that indicate how the New Testament writings became elevated by apostolic authority to become equal to the Old Testament Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 14:37, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

2 Corinthians 3:6, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Colossians 4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."

1 Thessalonians 4:2, "For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:27, "I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren."

1 Timothy 5:18, "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

1 Peter 1:12, "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."

2 Peter 3:16, "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

Revelation 1:3, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17Comments- Paul's Prayer - In 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Paul prays for the sanctification of the believers at Thessalonica, spirit, soul and body. Their hope established their minds, and he strengthens their hearts with comfort, while asking God to establish their works.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/2-thessalonians-2.html. 2013.

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Saturday, August 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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